Eurasian Union as an attempt to restore the Soviet Union. Part I
01/12/2011 15:52
Gocha Gvaramia
Experts's Club

Russia's obsession with implementation of the Putin's dream - to revive the Soviet Union - is well known not only in post-Soviet countries, but throughout the world. At that, this issue is becoming increasingly important in Russia, especially with the approach of presidential elections, the winner of which is already known - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The fact that Putin wants to restore the former Soviet Union and return the lost "might" is indicated by a simple, at first glance, yet significant fact - in December of 2000 Putin in the rank of the President of Russia introduced a proposal into the State Duma to discuss a text of a new anthem of the country, music of which was borrowed from the Soviet anthem. An iinteresting fact - words of the new hymn, as well as that of the anthem of the Soviet Union were written by the same person - well known Sergei Mikhalkov (we will return to him later). By their pathos anthem of today's Russia and that of the former Soviet Union do not differ much from each other. As for the music of the Soviet hymn, it generally evokes associations of return to the Soviet Union. This, in turn, is designed to provide appropriate psychological impact on a listener: the more one hears this music, the more likely nostalgia for “former greatness" springs up in one - especially in those who to this day are hearing the sounds of the Kremlin Clock in their sleep.

If we analyze information of the last period, Russia's attempts to strain relations with the west, particularly the U.S. is clearly evident. Though the situation which is gradually shaping up cannot be called "attempts". Increasingly provocative statements of Russia that it has been making on the international political arena, and insolent actions (military intervention into Georgia in August 2008, which ended in occupation of 20% of the country, failure to comply with the commitments assumed in connection with the occupation, air provocations against member-states of NATO, in particular, the Baltic countries and the United Kingdom, hidden and open support for regimes that were recognized as dictator and separatist regimes by the international community) were followed by statements of U.S. and the UK about withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).

In addition, in order to bring its puppet candidates to power in the former Soviet republics, Russia carries out provocations there that in some cases even end in bloodshed. Obvious example of this is Kyrgyzstan, not to mention Georgia.

If all this is considered together, it becomes clear - the Kremlin is trying to revive its Soviet "might" and assert its status as a "superpower" in the world.

However, in parallel with the above actions that are undertaken openly, not without interest are methods that the Kremlin is using in the former Soviet republics to influence population of these countries regarding "mandatory" revival of "common and mighty" Union.

There is no doubt that if the idea is voiced directly, it may cause, to say the least, a sense of caution among citizens of the former Soviet Union, especially in those countries that took a course on western values in their development and are quite advanced in their reforms. But even other countries will not be very tempted, if reanimated Union, even in theory and on any grounds will be associated with the return of the Soviet order. And for that the Kremlin must act covertly.

It is well known that the most effective opportunities to influence the public are in the hand of the media - the fourth power and that they are well tried and tested throughout the civilized world. The Kremlin knows that this time the Russian media alone is not enough to achieve the intended purpose, especially when their reputation, to put it mildly, does not evoke much trust in a number of post-Soviet countries. Therefore it became necessary to restore personal, especially journalistic connections, and establish new ones. In order to begin to act in this direction, the need emerged, on one hand, to attract serious finances and on the other - to make a choice of the media that is an international brand and has the potential of free communication in the former Soviet camp. In addition, their activities can be easily controlled, and " strong back” in the face of the Kremlin should be well evident. But the most difficult in implementation of the intended objective is, as a rule, choice of tactics and forms of action. In order to implement the ultimate objective it was deemed necessary:

- To unite representative of the media of the post-Soviet space, which against the background of the last 20 years of political battles and geopolitical changes, is not easy;
- To begin establishing relations with a view of their subsequent strengthening, which in turn implies choosing relevant, more or less favourably disposed to the Kremlin media sources in these countries - and this too is not easy;
- Gradual selection of participants in the project framework and awakening a favourable approach toward Russia in them, as well as a desire to participate in future meetings and the timing of the announcement of final objectives.

Given these criteria, the final choice fell on RIA Novosti, which has offices not only in the former Soviet Union, but also in different countries. In addition, the information agency has strong backing of the Kremlin and, accordingly, not so low budget which, according to various sources, is around half a billion dollars.

Now to forms of action. In 2005, under the aegis of RIA Novosti a large-scale project as the "Forum of European and Asian Media" (FEAM) was launched, which is held annually, alternately in different republics of the former Soviet Union. It is attended by about 300 journalists, bloggers and political scientists of the CIS, the Baltic republics and Georgia. As part of this project the official part of the forum discusses prospects of work of the media sources of countries presented, existing problems and ways of their solution. In addition, discussions on the existing situation in these countries are held in the spare time and ties are established.

This year’s forum that was held on November 21-22nd in Astana, Kazakhstan (apparently, it was not an accident that a choice fell on Astana - one of the authors of formation of the Eurasian Union is the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev) was quite different from previous ones. This was due to presence of a special guest of the forum - internationally acclaimed Russian director, actor, member of the Russian Public Chamber Nikita Mikhalkov - son of the author of the words of the above-mentioned hymns of the former Soviet Union and modern Russia Sergey Mikhalkov.

In his speech, Mikhalkov Jn. directly, openly unveiled the idea of formation of the Eurasian Union. At that, this “desire of his" he explained with nostalgia for common, fraternal coexistence. He also stressed a fact that this is not reincarnation of the Soviet Union and that no one instructed him to voice this idea. Though the completely opposite was demonstrated by pathos of his speech and his answers to questions. To find out what are ideas that Mr. Mikhalkov are possessed with it is enough to cast a glance on regalia of his father, whom he respects immensely.

So, here they are. Sergei Mikhalkov - Hero of Socialist Labour, Laureate of Lenin Prize (1970), of three Stalin Prizes of second degree (1941, 1942, 1950) and the USSR State Prize (1978), Academician of Russian Academy of Education; Holder of the Order of St. Andrew the first-called; Member of the Supreme Council of the USSR of the 8-11th Convocations (1970-1989); Member of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) since 1950. It is easy to guess under the influence of which ideology was brought up the famous Russian film director and playwright.

To be continued...

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